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Esteemed Entomologist Joins NMC (October 28, 2009)

A distinguished scientist who has had many of her research work published for international distribution has joined the Northern Marianas College to spearhead the College’s Entomology Lab.

Dr. Marisol Quintanilla, who is also a former Michigan State University instructor, was appointed to the post of Entomologist and Nematologist of the NMC’s Cooperative Research Extension and Education Service (CREES). She fills the position left vacant after former CREES entomologist Dr. Jack Tenorio retired earlier this year.

“The addition of Dr. Quintanilla to the College community is both timely and vital as NMC moves forward in enhancing the services and resources it provides to the CNMI community,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. "She brings a wealth of knowledge, talent, and experience to the CREES team.”

One of the key projects she is overseeing with CREES extension agent Arnold Route involves the distribution and promotion of an organic pesticide manufactured with extracts from the Neem plant, which was recently introduced to the CNMI.

Quintanilla graduated from Andrews University in Michigan in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. She then went on to graduate from Michigan State University with her master’s degree in entomology (2004) and her doctorate degree in nematology and entomology (2009).

While pursuing her master’s and doctorate degrees, Quintanilla served in various academic positions in the entomology department at MSU, where she delivered lectures, conducted demonstrations, and prepared learning outcomes for undergraduate students. Most recently, she was employed as a graduate research assistant at MSU’s Entomology’s Department’s Nematology Program, which specializes in the study of nematodes, or roundworms.

“I look forward to working with local farmers in the protection and maintenance of their crops,” said Dr. Quintanilla. “Already, the Entomology Lab staff have been hard at work in maintaining contact with local farmers to ensure that any new information is communicated and any new resources distributed.”

Since 2007, Quintanilla has been active in various outreach presentations throughout the state of Michigan that focused on soil biology and nematode community structure. Some of her presentations featured topics, such as acoustical signatures in natural ecosystems, which was presented at the Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting in 2008 in Nevada, and soil biology, which was presented at Michigan State University.

Quintanilla, who holds memberships in many professional societies of entomologists and nematologists throughout America, also earned a number of awards for her extensive research and teaching abilities. The C.S. Mott Doctoral Fellowship, which promotes the establishment of sustainable food systems, recognized Quintanilla for her research on sustainability in agriculture. Quintanilla was also awarded the MSU Entomology Department’s Dr. Eugenia McDaniel Teaching Award, which is given to the most effective entomology instructor in each particular semester.

Quintanilla arrived on Saipan in June 2009 with husband Goran Jotanovic and daughter Valera Jotanovic. The family enjoys engaging in outdoor activities, such as gardening, swimming, and observing nature.

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